In my opinion, the most fun associated with a trip to Europe is getting ready. Taking your goals for the trip in mind, the entire continent will be your playground. Just where do you want to go and what do you want to do. Those are the questions which will be fun to explore. I offer several reasons for travel a few web pages down the way. Hold off thinking about that until we get there.
Getting ready means getting a valid passport. The post office has the form. Or you can get the form online. Click HERE for it. You will need pictures. Let someone who takes passport photos take yours. The slight difference in the price between what you will save by trying to take the pictures yourself and what a professional charges is worth the peace of mind knowing the passport folks won't sent your application back to you because the pictures are not the right type. And there is only one right type and hundreds of wrong types. I think you can even get you passport photo at many K Mart stores.
You'll need to arrange the vacation time to be away from work. Or arrange the time off without pay. Or what ever it takes to get away from your job.
You need airline tickets. Price these around. Consider the sort of ticket which can be changed depending on how long in advance you buy them. I'll provide links to the airlines in a few pages. You also need railroad tickets. The pass is the only way to go. Click HERE to read about the Eurail and Britain passes.
You will need a train timetable and maps for where ever you plan to travel.
Better European Travel Books from Amazon.com. Click to read about them and order.
If you take a medication, you should carry a duplicate of the prescription in case anyone wants to know what the little pills are. Also if you loose your medication, make sure the prescription for it is available at Walgreens. You can always get a refill sent overnight if it is refillable. These are things to arrange ahead of time just in case. Talk to your pharmacist. Be sure to get their telephone number. Verify that they will send the item overnight if you request it.
You'll need some sort of ATM card which will work in Europe. Your bank can tell you if the one you have will work in the countries you plan to visit. If it will not, then find a kind of card, debit preferred, that will work for where you will travel.
Leave your credit cards at home with someone who well be able to send them to you in an emergency. Or carry one with a low limit for just in case stuff. But leave those $10,000 limit cards at home. They can only get you into trouble.
With a map of Europe and a train time table, make a sketch of the trip you plan to take. Circle the cities you want to visit then connect the dots. With a train pass all cities are possible. A clockwise or counterclockwise route without going backwards usually works best when you have limited time.
Investigate if your cell phone will work in Europe. Investigate if your phone cards will work there. You may not plan to call anyone while on vacation. Then again, you just may need to do that.
Start thinking about the currency you well need for the first week. Thus can be obtained at your local bank for a reasonable rate. If you are going to Britain first, then pounds sterling are just right. If you're off to Germany, the Euro is the currency, as is the case in THESE other countries. Switzerland is still the Swiss Franc. I'm guessing it will always be just that. You get my drift. Stock up on the amount you will need in advance of the trip.
Take the balance of what you'll spend in American fifty dollar bills. When you change money in any country, you'll never need less than $50 worth of a local currency, trust me. But if you do happen to want only say $80 changed into a local currency and only have $50 bills, you will give them $100. They will give you back $20 American and the balance in the currency you request. They are bankers and can make change. Do not expect this of a hotel. But them you should never change your money at any place other than a bank. Many of the change places at train stations rip you off for several dollars for the convenience. Just like you would never go grocery shipping for a week at the Seven Eleven, so too should you not go shopping for foreign cash at anything but a bank.
Do not work yourself silly just before the trip. Set your clocks at home on European time. Try to start adjusting to the new times, about six hours ahead, gradually. This many now work very well, but it is worth a try. Then again Melatonin is another important possibility to consider. Click HERE to find out more about it. You may want to start taking it a couple weeks before your trip. I never did. But then I didn't know about it until recently.
Make sure your internet account is paid for the time you will be gone. eMail works great from all over the world, now. So plan to use it as needed. You can check your email from anywhere in the world, too. Make sure you know how to do this.
Ask your friends what they might suggest for you to do while getting ready to go. They may have great suggestions.
I'll give you a list of what other sorts of stuff to take on the next page.
Click HERE to continue.